Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Mark Taylor Series--Now as Audiobooks!

On Audible
I am THRILLED to announce that three of my four Mark Taylor Series books are now available in audio book format. No Good Deed just went live this morning! March Into Hell and Deeds of Mercy have been available for a few months, but I didn't promote them much because it's hard to promote the last two books in a series when the first isn't available. I know, you're probably thinking why didn't I just have No Good Deed produced first? I have a very good answer to that question and the rest of this post will answer it. If you aren't interested in how my books became audiobooks, I'll just point you to the links on Audible.com and you can listen to the samples.



March Into Hell on Audible
When I started the process on ACX.com last January, I posted all four of my books as available for narrator to audition and chose a royalty share option--meaning I split the royalties 50/50 with the narrator. Once I did that, within a few days, ACX chose March Into Hell and Deeds of Mercy to receive stipends. A stipend is a set amount of money to be paid to the narrator on top of the royalties. This money comes out of ACX's pocket, not
Deeds of Mercy on Audible
mine and for an author, it increases the number of narrators who audition by tenfold. Narrators have out of pocket expenses and this stipend helps cover those expenses, plus they have to take a chance that the book they narrate doesn't sell much, so I'm all for them getting these stipends. In fact, I was thrilled about it. It's also a bit of an honor for a book to have a stipend attached. They are pretty selective and I'm assuming they go by reviews and sales numbers (they are affiliated with Amazon, so I'm sure they have access to some of the sales info).

 As wonderful as the stipends were, there are some drawbacks. The stipends expire after about 60 days. If I hadn't found a narrator in that time frame, there was no guarantee that the stipend would remain attached to it. That meant I had to find a narrator fairly quickly, and offer them a contract. Once they accepted the contract, they only had 60 days to complete the book, and that includes time for me to approve it.

I didn't understand some of these limitations last year when I offered the contract to one narrator. He didn't either, I don't think. We bit off more than we could chew and at the end of April, when he had only been able to complete a few chapters of one of the books, I appealed for the contract to be nullified per ACX's terms. It took several more weeks for that to happen.

Surprisingly, when I re-started the process of opening my books to auditions at the end of May, the stipends were still there for March Into Hell and Deeds of Mercy (so maybe they don't really expire? Hmmm...) So, I chose a new narrator and he completed both books by the end of August. The narrator did a good job--especially considering the time constraints--but we didn't quite click as partners in this process. Consequently, I opted to find a different narrator for No Good Deed and Mark Taylor: Genesis. I didn't have stipends for them, so I was worried about it.

I can't quite remember if I contacted Daniel Penz and asked him to audition after listening to dozens of narrators samples, or if he auditioned on his own and maybe he can answer that question in the comments? :) Anyway, he auditioned and I thought he sounded perfect for the book. He was willing to do it without a stipend, but I wanted to see if I could get one anyway. It only seemed fair since NGD is my bestseller. I felt it should have received one instead of either March Into Hell or Deeds of Mercy. I contacted ACX about three times via email and a couple of times by phone. The end result was that No Good Deed received a stipend. Persistence does pay off. However, I'm not going to try with Mark Taylor: Genesis as it's a much shorter book. (stipends pay by length of the book $100/per listening hour of the book.) Despite that, Daniel has agreed to narrate MT:G in January, taking time off for the holidays. Since No Good Deed worked for over two years as the first book in the series, I'm confident that it can continue to work as the starter for the audiobooks as well for a few more months.

1 comment:

  1. So pleased that the narrated books have been working out for you, Mary. It's fun to listen and "read" or in the case of those who commute, have the book available for travel time. Congratulations. Job well done (as always.)

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